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Foreign Minister discusses further collaboration in shipping with Bangladesh

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Foreign Minister Prof G.L. Peiris held discussions on Tuesday (16) with Bangladesh State Minister of Shipping holding Cabinet rank Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, as a follow up to his meeting with the Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen.

Shipping is one of the key areas selected for collaboration between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Ministers G.L Peiris and Khalid Chowdhury agreed that enhanced cooperation between Chittagong and Sri Lankan ports will represent a win-win situation for both countries because of the saving of both time and financial resources, if a transit hub in Sri Lanka is utilised for access into the Gulf and the Mediterranean.

The Bangladesh Minister indicated the importance being currently attached by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to the subject of shipping in Bangladesh, with initiatives for the development of several other ports including the Matarbari in Cox’s Bazaar district, which is being developed as a deep sea port with the assistance of Japan.

The Ministers decided that the next step would be the early convening of the Joint Working Group since the last meeting was in Dhaka in 2014. It was proposed that a meeting be held in Colombo in the early months of 2022. Minister Peiris said that he would discuss the matter with his colleague, the Minister of Ports and Shipping, and facilitate arrangements for the early convening of the Joint Working Group.

Issues relating to feeder services and a comprehensive coastal shipping agreement would be among the subjects on the agenda at the meeting in Colombo.

The two Ministers noted with satisfaction the robust economic cooperation between the two countries and agreed that the shipping sector is a vital component for strengthening the relationship further.

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